Protector of the Old Home - Late 1651 to Early 1652
Now that the Commonwealth was finally wrapping up the last remnants of the Civil Wars, they needed allies on the mainland. By the end of 1651, they found themselves being very good allies with the Dutch. With recovery finally complete, the English Parliament brought up the topic of having an official executive position for the Commonwealth. Many believed that Oliver Cromwell would again be the most popular and best choice to rule the titled “Lord Protector” position. However, ever since the end of the English Civil War and Charles I’s escape, many saw Cromwell’s poor behavior break out in important meetings, the most recent example being the letter back to Charles II. A recent incident between Cromwell in Ireland caused a commotion in England, and put his Protectorship in danger. His racism and discrimination against the Irish and non-Puritans turned out to be against his favor. While most of the English didn’t like the Irish themselves, most didn’t advocate exile as much as Cromwell did. Much of the good reputation from Cromwell’s victories in the Civil War were wearing off. And it could not have been at a worse time, as the revolts in Ireland were reaching near peak-velocity (this event will be one of the precursors to the Irish Revolution, and the later foundation of an independent Ireland). Cromwell’s influence was beginning to do more bad than good, and his ideals were so heavily against him.
Many members of Parliament wanted a man who also helped lead the Commonwealth in their victory in the Civil War; Sir Thomas Fairfax. Many began to spread rumors about him being the true hero of the civil war, and called him a much better leader than Cromwell. Fairfax was much more collected and well centered in his policies, which was something many at the time did not like during the times of the Civil War. However, now that the war was many years behind them, many saw that Cromwell’s radical nature would not be best to lead the Commonwealth. So, when it was decided to hold a Parliament-wide meeting of both the House of Commons and Lords to elect their first Lord Protector, it was down between the two contenders, Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax. On March 25th, 1652, the Parliament tallied the votes of the election and decreed their first Lord Protector as Sir Thomas Fairfax. While Cromwell wasn't particularly pleased with these results, he couldn't do much to stop them.
Sir Thomas Fairfax, The First Lord Protector of England
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